England's Ashes hero Freddie Flintoff, who is set to make his professional debut in Manchester on Nov 30 in a four-round fight against novice American Richard Dawson, has rejected suggestion that his reinvention as a boxer demeans the sport.
Strong opposition from within boxing has greeted the former England cricket captain's decision to swap bat for gloves.
Frank Warren and rising British heavyweight Danny Price described it as 'car crash T', while Frank Maloney branded it a scandal, but Flintoff, who lost 45lbs in weight during a gruelling four-month training camp, insists his motives are honourable.
"You couldn't go through this for a TV stunt. If I was looking for a publicity stunt I'd have picked something easier. There's other things I could have done," the Telegraph quoted Flintoff, as saying.
"There's been criticism of things I've done in the past. I'm just getting my head down and doing the best I can. I appreciate that people want to protect the sport they're involved in. I'd be the same with cricket," he added.
"I'm hoping this is something where boxing is celebrated because it's not my intention to cheapen the sport or show it up. We want to show the sport in the best possible light because ultimately I'm a boxing fan as well," he said.